Monday, August 31, 2015

Montana Adventure Day 17

Today is the day I've been waiting for ever since I got to Dillon!  Today I had lunch with Suzie O'Connell!  Suzie writes the Northstar Romances and I've been one of her Beta readers for the last four books plus I send along a daily nag!  We've chatted on Facebook many times but had never met. She brought along her lovely 6 year old daughter Maddie for our lunch-Maddie was sort of taken by my tiger tail!  Long story short we had a lovely lunch and chatted until 3:30!  It's nice to meet someone in real life that you've "Known" in the internet way-and find that in spite of our very large age difference we have a lot in common.  Anyway, when I nag her now I know what she looks like!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Montana adventure Day 16

The alarm went off at 3am, I did not get out of bed.  Two late nights in two days and my bod was saying-"Are you nuts?  Go back to sleep!" So I did.  It was still really smokey this morning so I doubt I missed anything.

After our breakfast we loaded up and went to Nevada City/Virginia City.  It was a nice drive of about an hour through mining country.  Lots of round rocks piled up everywhere where they had dug.  You could hunt for garnets at one place.  Sunday, they weren't open.  We stopped in Nevada City as you come to that first and looked around.  I bought a cinnamon roll, yum-it was worth the sugar headache!  They were having a special living history event so we didn't stay.  There was a horse.  Quinn is not quite sure what to make of a horse.  She saw her first one on this trip, I got a very alert sheltie and I could almost hear her thinking "What on earth is that?!" The horse was very interested in her as well!  On to Virginia City we went.  It isn't far and on a Sunday morning not everything was open or dog friendly but we walked around and took it all in.  Quinn drew lots of attention, as she always does, and was polite with all the new people. Makes me proud! Before long we were headed back to Dillon. There was a small traffic jam as we caught the end of the parade for a county fair, fun!

We came back into part of Dillon I had overlooked previously, there was another market and all the gas stations, etc.  In the Safeway there was a - wait for it-Starbucks!  Had to stop and have one!

All in all a nice day inspite of the smoke.  We are being quite lazy on this trip, much reading is happening along with our walks.  I've picked up a needle exactly twice.  Boy did I bring way too much stuff!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Montana Adventure Day 15

Last night the wind blew and blew!  My little trailer only weighs 3700lbs so it rocked!  Sleep was a distant thought until the wind stopped-there was a little thunder and lightening thrown in as well.  I had books to read so no big deal, just read until the wind stopped or I was too tired to keep my eyes open.  This morning when I got up it was to SMOKE!!  That thunder and lightening last night started a fire about 12 miles SE of Dillon, sage brush and grass mostly but by morning it was already on the large incident fire report.  It seems that all of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and NW Montana are burning.  So many fires and resources are spread VERY thin.  The smoke was so thick I could not see the pioneer mountains and the asthma kicked in so most of the day was spent in the camper.  We did get a touch of cabin fever in the afternoon and went to Clark Canyon Dam and Reservoir.  This is a Lewis and Clark site-there are many in Montana and they have done a great job documenting them.  this is the only one we visited this trip-I've done so much work on Lewis and Clark with the Trails Museum that it no longer holds much appeal to me.  You'd think I'd be more interested but the truth is I've been to so many sites and they are mostly the same, this one a bit more specific to the site so it was interesting.  Plus Quinn and I got to take a walk somewhere other than the campground.

You can really see the smoke in this one.  Normally, there would be mountains in the background. 

A replica dugout
Tonight the northern lights are supposed to be visible-I'll set the alarm but I'm afraid the smoke will interfere.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Montana Adventure Day 14

I set my alarm for 3am to get up and watch the Persied meteor shower-which perhaps explains some of the happenings of later in the day.  Got up got dressed and went outside.  The sky was amazing and I saw two meteors before the cold drove me back in (also the campground had major lights which made seeing all of the sky a problem.)  I could have driven out from town but I had no idea where to go, sigh.  Went back to sleep.

Quinn and I headed out on a side trip today.  First to Bannack State Park where I discovered I'd left the data card for my camera in the laptop back in the camper, sigh.  Decided to use my cell phone.  Took a number of really good photos but for some reason I cannot get them to transfer to the laptop.  Many hours of trying later, I give up.   It was an interesting ghost town and Quinn enjoyed being able to wander around with me.  I found some odd things interesting-typical, I know- all the buildings save one began as log but some were covered with clapboard siding in time and some in shingles, you could see the logs in the places where the siding and shingles had fallen off.  Plus, when they added onto the buildings it was sort of haphazard and the new part settled differently then the old so you had a tilt to one part.  I imagine walking in them would have been interesting!
The two story white building is the Masonic Hall.  Apparently, they still hold meetings here and anyone who is a Mason can attend one special meeting there.  Folks come from all over.

Mining train


See the logs behind the clapboard?

And here are logs behind the shingles!

I wonder did they begin with this corner in the ground or did it happen later?

Quinn enjoys the shade-it was warm walking around in the sun!

Love the door on this whitewashed cabin!

Grass growing on the roof!  I think this had bars on the windows-so maybe the Jail?

This one sank in the middle!

This one sank on the back end.

 After we left Bannack we drove to the town of Polaris (for neat pics) in the Grasshopper valley on the Pioneer Mountain scenic byway.  (Also the site of the Northstar novels by Suzie O'Connell!)  Gorgeous drive through the national forest, saw some wildlife, er cows, roaming free in the woods.  Not much traffic either.  Decided that I'd go back the next day and take a fully functional camera!  These were all taken towards the north end of the Pioneer Mountain Scenic Byway.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Montana Adventure Day 13

Today was check out Dillon day!  Some driving around and then it was time for a quilt shop! Where I bought these--
 For Ethan's I spy quilt--finally some "Chows" (cows)!
And for my stash.

Also visited a really nice yarn store but didn't buy anything there or at the bookstore I visited.

Spent the rest of the time re-arranging the trailer, cleaning and reading.  Quinn and I take lots of walks around the campground and we got her long lead out and played soccer ball in one of the big grassy areas.

A restful day.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Montana Adventure Day 12

Hit the road this morning!  Only had to get out of the truck 3 times to get the ball under the hitch-Whoo-hoo! Go Me!  And the truck start so off we went.  South through the Bitterroot valley into the mountains and trees.  Past Darby, dang I wished I'd stopped there it looked interesting.  Nearly missed the turn east and crossed over the border into Idaho, luckily lots of folks had done so before and there was a nice large turn out!  Turning my little camper around is not easy can only imagine how the big rigs must feel.  Drove through some of the prettiest forests and glens I've yet seen on this trip-national forest I think so no one really lives along there and there aren't any towns.  Really lovely!

A bit further on we stopped at the Big Hole National Battlefield one of the last battles of the Nez Perce  first nations with US Troops.  For a while they were winning but in the end the members of the tribe who did not make it to Canada were taken to Oklahoma and placed on a reservation.  A place of atrocities, a time to regret.  I did not go down on the actual battlefield, after my experience at the Battle of Little Bighorn-eerie hair standing on end, unable to breathe- I am leery of visiting such sites and this one could be seen from afar.  So Photos

Also saw a beaver slide in the distance!

Leaving the battlefield we drove into the Big Hole valley, which is just as it sounds a big bowl shaped basin of ranches.  Everywhere in Montana (well through out the west really) ranchers are making hay.  Usually the big round bales that weight 1000lbs+ /-, sometimes the big rectangular bales, sometimes the little bales you can buy at the Nursery and in some very few places they use beaver slides to make truly LARGE piles!

These piles were made with a beaver slide the cow gives you some perspective on their size

The beaver slides here seem to be made of metal and there are many.  Mostly around the tiny town of Jackson, MT. (Blink and you've missed it!)

Back to hay, I started thinking about WHY they made so much hay, did they need it, did they sell it, what.  So Google to the rescue-each cow eats about 24lbs of hay a day, they might need to feed 200 days each year so for every cow that's 480lbs some of these ranches have hundreds (Or maybe 1000's) of cows so for a hundred cows they need about 5000lbs per winter or maybe more if it's really cold. They probably sell some as well but mostly it's stacked up in great piles of round bales like this
I don't think I saw any of these piles of last years hay, like you do at home, so they must use it.  Still it's a LOT of hay!

Still musing on the amount of hay out here were clear the last little pass and are into the beaver head valley and Dillon, MT. Our home for the next 6 days.